The European Union has proposed tighter controls on the export of Covid-19 vaccine doses, EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis announced on Wednesday.
The new rules would most likely affect countries with higher vaccination rates than the EU, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
The tougher export controls would see vaccine shipments assessed based on the destination country's rate of vaccinations and vaccine exports.
Going forward, the European Commission and member states will consider two additional elements: reciprocity and proportionality, Dombrovskis said.
"If a country of destination which has a large production capacity restricts its own exports of vaccines or substances, either by law or by other means, it may be appropriate to consider whether exports to this country are justified," he said.
"The second element is proportionality, which means finding the right balance. Member states of the Commission will consider the conditions prevailing in the country of destination — in particular, epidemiological situation, its vaccination rate, and existing availability of Covid-19 vaccines," Dombrovskis continued.
The objective of the change is to "have more transparency on exports and obtain a full picture of what is happening outside the EU so as to avoid a possible circumvention of the rules," Dombrovskis said.
Exports to low- and middle-income countries supplied through the COVAX scheme and exports to EU overseas countries and territories would not be affected because they have an unconditional exemption.
European leaders will meet on tomorrow and Friday to discuss this proposal and the wider coronavirus crisis in Europe. If signed off, the export mechanism would "apply until six weeks from its entry into force," the draft text said.